Getting people growing - engaging housing association residents using container food growing

 Young residents display the boxes they sowed dried peas in at one of the pop-up pea shoot events I organised.

Young residents display the boxes they sowed dried peas in at one of the pop-up pea shoot events I organised.

I recently organised a stakeholder event for a city council, as they wanted to explore developing a sustainable food strategy.

During the session, one of the breakout groups discussed building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects (one of the key issues set out by the Sustainable Food Cities programme).  They were brainstorming ways in which they could build community food knowledge so I mentioned a related programme I ran for national housing association Affinity Sutton  a couple of years earlier.

The ideas were received really positively so I decided to write a case study summarising the programme I ran, in the hope that people trying to do similar things in their communities could take inspiration from it.

The housing association wanted me to run awareness raising activities, consulting residents on how they might want to get involved in green projects, generating a buzz and finding potential growers.      

Historically, there had been limited resident participation in the two areas of housing I had been asked to focus on (Borehamwood and Mottingham). The case study reveals how I got round this by setting up pop-up pea shoot growing events, how I used these events to find a core group of committed residents in both areas, and how, 18 months after the programme began, this ultimately led to the creation of a community food garden in each area.

The pop-up events were simple to set up, required little in the way of resources and could be held pretty much anywhere.  

I also include 5 tips on how to effectively get people growing, based on my experience of running the programme, as well as a sample pea shoot growing guide and resident survey for data collection.             

Click on the link below to download the case study and drop me a line if you find it useful:

Getting People Growing – Engaging housing association residents using container food growing

Oh, and if you're looking for inspiration on growing food in containers then my friend Mark Ridsdill Smith at Vertical Veg is your man.